Cycle Oz Day 77 – eating the miles for breakfast 

  • Start: Bitter Springs, Mataranka
  • End: Gravel Pit
  • Day distance: 128km
  • Total Distance: 5042.2km
  • Average Speed: 24.7km/hr
  • Pedalling time: 05:09
  • Total Time: 11:00

I woke in the night thinking there were animals creeping about in the leaves, but as I lay and listen I could hear the rhythmic sound and figured out it was the rotating sprinkler splattering it’s water on the leaves. It reminded me of the time, many years ago, I thought there was someone in my wardrobe but it was next door playing darts. It’s times like this when it’s good to have working earphones so you can block out the noise. 

We aimed to leave for 6:30am and at 6:30 I waited for the boys to be ready and we left at 6:50am. It was so nice and cool and I had to stop myself saying it was cold, knowing that it wasn’t going to last for long. In the first few kilometres we went in and out of pockets of cool and warm air until it eventually just became warm, and then warmer air. 

Delicious icy water

We saw loads of kangaroos this morning bouncing around in the bush, too small and too well camouflaged take a picture. With a great tail wind we flew along, we made a short break at a rest area but otherwise we just crushed out the miles and made it 107km to Katherine before 12pm. 107km powered purely on Ginger Nuts! An average speed of 25.5km, by far my best of the trip! The last few kilometres were along a cycle path so as the traffic got busier it was nice to be off the road for a bit. My water was still icy cold and delicious when I arrived in town and I wish I had the ability to freeze my water every night, it is so much nicer to drink cold water.

If we had needed to, or if it wasn’t so hot, or if we had wanted to push ourselves we could have easily bashed out a 150km+ day today, but we didn’t need to, or want to, and it was too hot. So instead we went in search of pizza as we had been thinking about it since our failed attempt in Tennant Creek. Unfortunately the only pizza option was Dominos so we went there. As far as the big chains go this is one of the more acceptable ones, although they added a 10% surcharge to our orders, just because it was a Sunday! I’ve never heard of such a thing!

It was so hot and eating hot pepperoni pizza didn’t help my sweat situation at all! I was also still feeling not quite right in the stomach area and I could only manage half my pizza, so I put the other half in a ziplock bag and saved it for later. We couldn’t find anywhere reasonably priced to stay in Katherine, and the warm showers host I wrote to never replied, so we decided to go another 20km to a free camp spot labelled ‘gravel pit’. We have camped at a few gravel pits now and they have been ok so far. 

But we weren’t going to leave until it had cooled down a bit and we needed to go to the supermarket. But first we went to McDonalds, and what they lacked in quality and speed of service (20 minutes to get a small chocolate milkshake) they made up for in shade and air conditioning. No power points in this Mcdonalds though which is highly unusual, people don’t really come here for the food, they come here to use the electricity and the free wifi don’t they?

Well, the good thing is that they let you sit there for hours without saying anything, but eventually we had to leave and go to Woolworths to buy food for the next 4 days. I tried to get away with buying as little as possible and I have jelly sweets, shortbread, M&Ms (because they aren’t supposed to melt), imitation Pringles, cereal bars, mandarins, spinach and noodles to get me through the next 4 days. 

Coming out of the air-conditioned building felt like someone was blowing a hairdryer in your face, even at 5pm when we left town it was still disgustingly hot. We bought 10 litres of water to share for $3.60 (we paid $10 for the same box in the outback) as we were craving some fresh drinking water over the ‘safe’ bore water we have been drinking. It is safe to drink, but it has a funny taste, like it’s been stored in a container for a long time.

We set off to get the last 19km to the gravel pit done, and I was feeling sluggish and too full of pizza and milkshake so I struggled to keep up with the boys on the few hills out of town. But they slowed down and waited for me, they are super considerate like that, and I am super grateful for it. I was so hot and sweaty and dry mouthed, I had sweat rolling down my spine and into my bum crack and I feared getting a bit of arse chafe but I think I’ve dodged it

At the gravel pit there were already a bunch of people there and it’s quite a noisy site, but it is only 8pm so hopefully it will quieten down. I forced down my leftover pizza for dinner and a couple of mandarins, I feel pretty gross, my stomach feels like it’s been pumped up and all I want to do is be horizontal. 

I noticed that my trusty Platypus, which I’ve have for several years and has been with me on all my trips has a small crack in the bottom which has resulted in a small leak. Another thing broken! And I had to make some repairs to my iPhone cable which has split in 2 more places. 

I am now typing this in my underwear again in a desperate bid to cool down and one of the annoying noisy people has lit a cigar which smells revolting and is not doing anything for my stomach issues

Oh yeah, and I almost forgot, passed 5000km today! 

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

I continue to raise money for Just A Drop – they bring sustainable clean water, sanitation and hygiene projects to communities around the world. 

663 million people across the globe are living without access to clean, safe water. That’s 1 in 10 people. A child dies every 90 seconds from a water related disease. One third of the worlds population – 2.4 billion people – don’t have access to adequate sanitation. 

If you have enjoyed this blog, please consider donating a few…pounds / dollars / euros / yen… and together we can change lives.

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